• John Jantak

Property taxes rise 1.9 per cent in Saint-Lazare


PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK

Saint-Lazare Treasurer Stephanie Martin presents the city’s 2020 budget during a special sitting of council on Tuesday, December 17. Property taxes for an average house evaluated at $386,000 will rise by $60 next year.

Homeowners in Saint-Lazare will see their property taxes increase by 1.9 per cent for a completely serviced residence after council unanimously adopted the city’s budget for 2020 during a special session on Tuesday evening, December 17.

Taxes for an average house evaluated at $386,000 will rise by $60 next year. “Council worked extremely hard to balance the budget and keep the increase below two per cent which is below the cost of living,” Mayor Robert Grimaudo told The Journal after the meeting.

Chaline Valley

One of the major expenditures absorbed by the town in 2019 was the reconfiguration work done to stabilize the slopes in Chaline Valley. Out of the $15 million that was earmarked for the project, $10.5 million came from a provincial government subsidy and the town absorbed the remaining $4.5 million cost.

Work in Chaline Valley, which is the biggest land stabilization project in the history of Quebec, will take a pause over the next few weeks and resume in late January. Final finishing touches including landscaping will be done in the spring. “A lot of money came out of our surplus and from a loan to cover our portion of the cost,” said Grimaudo.

Challenging year

District 6 Councillor Brian Trainor, an accountant by profession, was lauded by Grimaudo for his accounting acumen in helping the town to deliver its budget. Trainor replied the budget was a cooperative effort by the entire council and the town’s administration.

“This has been a particularly challenging year to work on the budget with the goal of maintaining a reasonable tax increase for our residents,” said Trainor who read from a prepared statement before voting in favour of the budget’s adoption by council. “Each year this council has tried to review in detail the initial budget prepared by the administration with the goal to ensure that budget expenses take into account the real needs of the town and its residents and to ensure your tax money is not wasted.”

“Council did an awesome job,” said Grimaudo. “Having an accountant on council like Mr. Trainor at budget time definitely has its advantages. He worked extremely hard. In fact, the whole council worked very well as a team and everybody was instrumental in making sure that there was a reasonable increase and yet we can still provide the services required.”

Infrastructure upgrades

The mayor said he’s happy some of the major infrastructure needs have been fulfilled recently with the new city hall and fire station, but said other challenges lay ahead. “Those projects don’t impact the budget anymore, that’s for sure, but there are other big projects coming,” said Grimaudo.

The town’s triennial plan for 2020, 2021 and 2022 also has significant infrastructure projects planned for 2020 that total almost $39 million. The investment includes just over $19 million pegged for a major sewage and water system upgrade in the Frontenac area and just over $11 million for other infrastructure upgrades.

“The town must continue investing in its infrastructure to make sure we don’t fall behind,” said Grimaudo. “This budget very well balances the need for infrastructure investment. The council did an amazing job of analyzing and balancing it all out.”

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